Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Getting Started with SVA Submissions

As noted in yesterday’s blog (see: "SVA Announcement") DHS has published instructions for the completion of SVA’s. From other reports (see: "Vulnerability Assessments are Underway") it is apparent that DHS is (or already has begun) in the process of sending out high-risk facility notifications that includes the tier ranking for those facilities. These notifications are based on the Top Screen Submissions that were submitted late last year through January of this year.

SVA Tool

The SVA Tool is one of four components of the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT). The facilities being required to complete an Security Vulnerability Assessment using the SVA tool have already dealt with two of the components of the CSAT, the Registration and Top Screen tools. The basic operation of the SVA Tool is very similar to the two components already used.

Like the other components of CSAT this tool is a secure, on-line computer application. Only registered users for that facility may access the SVA tool to enter, edit or submit data. The same roles that were used for the Top Screen will be used for the SVA Tool, unless they are specifically changed using the registration maintenance process (see: "Updates of CSAT Top Screen Manuals")

Those roles are briefly reviewed below. While there are four distinct roles, one person may fulfill as many as three of these roles. All of these people must have completed Chemical-Terrorism Vulnerability Information (CVI) training and DHS certification procedures before they can work with the SVA Tool (this was not required for Top Screen submission).

  • Authorizer – An officer of the corporation (or a person directly authorized by an officer of the corporation) who can designate the other roles within the CSAT. Does not enter or submit data in this role.
  • Submitter – An employee of the corporation who has been given the authority to submit CSAT information to DHS.
  • Preparer – A person who has been given the authority to enter information into CSAT.
  • Reviewer – A person who has been given the authority to look at submission in the CSAT system.

Data Entry Procedures

There is no doubt about it. The SVA tool is more complex than the Top Screen. It will take more time to completely enter the data into the tool, so it will not be done at a single setting. One simple procedure must be used to ensure that the data entered is properly saved by the system before logging off, or else the data will be lost. That procedure is the same as used in the Top Screen; use the on-screen navigation buttons ("NEXT" and "BACK") to move from screen to screen. Using the back and next buttons on your computer browser may not result in the information being saved.

There is an interesting note on page 8 about navigating pages; it notes, in bold print:

  • "Please note that if a user returns to a section of the SVA that was previously completed, all the subsequent pages need to be reviewed".

It is important that people remember this. There are a number of pages that are only shown to users that are required to fill them out. That requirement is determined, in many cases, by answers provided to questions within the SVA. Changing those answers may change what pages are seen or what subsequent questions must be answered.

There are some data entry procedures that are new to the SVA tool. There are places where additional lines of data may be required. This will be accomplished by pushing a "ADD" button. If a line is not needed it may be removed by pushing the adjacent "DELETE" button. There are also provisions for adding descriptions for various devices or systems named in the SVA. The Preparer will push a "DESCRIBE" button to open a data box to provide the needed description.

One last data entry point; there is a 20 minute ‘time out’ provision on the SVA tool. This means that if there is no activity on the site for 20 minutes the site will close. Any data that was entered after the last time a "NEXT" or "BACK" button was pressed will be lost. All other data will be available the next time the site is entered; log-in will re-open the last screen being worked on.

Pre-populated Data

When the facility representative signs on to the SVA tool for the first time some of the information may already be filled out. The location information completed in the Top Screen will normally be filled in on the SVA. Most of this data may be changed or updated if needed. The one exception is the longitude and latitude data. That data can only be changed by calling the Help Desk. While this is not explained in the instructions, it is apparently due to thefact that DHS has included a ‘map’ of the facility in the SVA. Changing the latitude and longitude would also require a change in that map.

The other class of pre-populated data is that information that would be taken from the DHS ‘High-Risk Facility’ notification letter. This information may include such items as the Facility ID Number, the COI security issues that must be addressed in the SVA and a list of the COI associated with those security issues. If these are pre-populated (presumably the normal case) they will not be editable. In some cases, the pre-populated questions will not even be seen. Facility specific questions on this should be referred to the Help Desk (866-323-2957; 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST, Monday thru Friday).

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